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2014 Draft Prep: Golden Tate will be a Fantasy star

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Prior to the start of preseason action, many Fantasy owners were skeptical of Golden Tate. They likely weren't expecting a big statistical leap despite his move from Seattle to Detroit.

It will be interesting to see how things change now that we've seen Tate on the field.

He's has come out and played well through two games, especially the second outing against Oakland when he had three catches for 41 yards and a touchdown. We never doubted Tate would shine with the Lions and the prediction here is Tate will be a Fantasy star this season.

Before the preseason started, Tate's Average Draft Position was No. 77 overall, which is Round 7 in a 12-team league. He was being drafted after guys like DeSean Jackson, Emmanuel Sanders and Julian Edelman, among others. I'd gladly take Tate over those receivers, and I would draft him as early as Round 5.

Now, to be fair, Tate has never had a big season before. His best finish as a Fantasy option was last year when he was the No. 28 receiver in standard leagues with 64 catches for 898 yards and five touchdowns in Seattle.

But moving from the run-oriented Seahawks to the pass-happy Lions is the equivalent of taking off training wheels. It's time for Tate to fly.

What we like about Tate is he's among the most reliable receivers in the NFL with only five drops since 2011. He has caught 144 of 149 catchable passes thrown his way over that span, according to Pro Football Focus.

His hands are going to be tested because Matthew Stafford has attempted at least 630 passes in three consecutive years. By comparison, Russell Wilson has combined for 800 passes the past two seasons.

Tate had just 98 targets last season, but that number should rise significantly. He will be in single coverage on nearly every play because of Calvin Johnson drawing constant attention. And Stafford has had plenty of time to develop a rapport with Tate since Johnson has missed the first two preseason games.

Stafford must have been dying for a receiver like Tate. The players who have finished No. 2 in receptions behind Johnson the past three years have been Reggie Bush in 2013 with 54 catches, Brandon Pettigrew in 2012 with 59 catches and Pettigrew again in 2011 with 83 grabs.

The receivers who have played opposite Johnson over that time have been Nate Burleson, Titus Young, Ryan Broyles, Kris Durham and Kevin Ogletree. No offense to those players, but that screams mediocrity.

Tate will make Stafford better, he will make the Lions better and he will enhance Fantasy lineups with his ability in a high-powered offense. You should plan on drafting Tate as a No. 2 Fantasy receiver and he has the chance to help you win championships this season.

This is going to be a career year for Tate and he's ready to become a Fantasy star.

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Player News
Kendall Wright, Delanie Walker good to go for Titans
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:11 pm ET) The Titans will have both Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker Week 16 against the Jaguars.

Both players came into the game listed as questionable. Wright is dealing with a hand injury. Walker has a knee issue. Both players will attempt to play through their injuries.

The team will also have Byron Stingily and Kamerion Wimbley. Both Stingily and Wimbley were listed as questionable. Daimion Stafford, who came into the contest listed as probable, will also be available. 


Titans list inactives for Week 16
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:07 pm ET) The Titans have listed QB Zach Mettenberger, DB Jemea Thomas, LB Zaviar Gooden, LB Dontay Moch, OT Terren Jones, OT Taylor Lewan and DL Mike Martin as inactive Week 16 against the Jaguars.

Both Mettenberger and Lewan were listed as doubtful heading into the contest. Neither was expected to take the field. Gooden was listed as questionable due to a hamstring injury. The other four players listed are healthy scratches. 


Jaguars' Blake Bortles, Marqise Lee active vs. Titans Week 16
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:02 pm ET) Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (foot) and wide receiver Marqise Lee (elbow) are active for Thursday night's Week 16 matchup with the Titans.

Bortles was listed as questionable to play on the team's final injury report but was reported to be starting earlier Thursday. Lee was listed as probable to play after catching four of his 10 targets for 14 yards in Week 15.

Players who were on the team's final Week 16 injury report who are also active include defensive end Ryan Davis (hip) and safety Josh Evans (foot), both of whom were questionable to suit up Thursday.


Jaguars list Week 16 inactives vs. Titans
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:01 pm ET) The Jaguars listed the following players as inactive for Thursday night's week 16 battle with the Titans: wide receiver Tommy Streeter (abdomen), defensive tackle Roy Miller (knee), defensive end Andre Branch (groin), cornerbacks Teddy Williams and Jeremy Harris, safety Matt Daniels and guard Tyler Shatley.

Streeter and Miller were listed as questionable to play Thursday on the team's final injury report, while Branch was previously ruled out. The Jaguars have three quarterbacks active for the game, including first-stringer Blake Bortles (foot), who was listed as questionable to play.


You'll want to stick with Tre Mason
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(6:31 pm ET) In two games since blowing up for 164 total yards and three touchdowns, Rams running back Tre Mason has a total of 99 yards on 33 carries. Neither performance was good individually, and Week 15 against Arizona was especially bad. Subtract the fumble from his 33 yards, and he scored a grand total of one Fantasy point in standard CBSSports.com leagues.

So why would you consider using him in your championship game with the Rams hosting the Giants in Week 16? For one thing, the matchup is a night-and-day difference. You had to expect Mason to struggle against the Cardinals, who rank sixth against the run, allowing 90.4 yards per game, but would have guessed the Redskins, his Week 14 opponent, rank seventh? It's not a matter of teams choosing to beat them through the air either. They're one of 10 teams that have allowed less than 4 yards per carry.

The Giants, meanwhile, rank 30th against the run, allowing 135.1 yards per game and 4.9 yards per carry. It doesn't mean Mason is a lock for big numbers. The Redskins' Alfred Morris, who most would consider a superior running back, had just 49 yards on 14 carries against the Giants last week. But after splitting carries early on, Mason has become the clear workhorse of the Rams backfield. You don't sit a running back with that role when he has a favorable matchup, especially when he's performed as Mason has this season.

Jamey Eisenberg agrees, naming Mason the CBSSports.com Start of the Week for Week 16.


Packers, Randall Cobb not in discussions for contract extension
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:21 pm ET) Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb said Thursday that he and the team haven't been engaged in contract-extension talks, the Journal Sentinel reports.

"There’s no contract talks that have been going on right now, so I guess not," Cobb said when asked if he thought he's done enough to earn an extension. "I guess there’s still more to do. So, just continue to put my nose down every day and focus on getting the team into the playoffs and doing everything I can to bring back the Super Bowl."

Cobb is in the last year of his rookie contract and will become a free agent this offseason if an extension isn't signed. He's enjoyed a breakout performance in 2014, racking up 76 receptions for 1,076 yards with 10 touchdowns. If the Packers choose to let Cobb enter free agency, 2014 second-round pick Davante Adams would likely move into a much larger role.


Turner: Matt Asiata to get bulk of carries Sunday against Dolphins
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:59 pm ET) After it was reported the Vikings were going to use a running-back-by-committee approach once Jerrick McKinnon was lost for the season, offensive coordinator Norv Turner said Thursday Matt Asiata will get the majority of the carries when Minnesota travels to Miami Sunday.

"Well, Matt I think showed, I think he's shown throughout, but he's showed in the game that he's a guy that gives us the best all-around running, catching, [pass] protection," Turner said Thursday. "He had an outstanding game so I would expect Matt to get the bulk of the work and when there's opportunity to get someone else in there we'll do it."

Asiata is averaging 3.3 yards per carry this season with seven rushing touchdowns. Running backs Joe Banyard and Ben Tate appear to be on the back burner after Tate has had just 38 yards on 13 carries since going the Vikings. While Banyard has just 45 yards on 10 carries. 


Bengals TE Jermaine Gresham on track to play Week 16
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:53 pm ET) Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham, who missed the Week 15 win at Cleveland with a toe injury, practiced fully Thursday, reports ESPN.com. He's on track to start Monday against the Broncos.

With Tyler Eifert still trying to come back from an elbow injury he suffered in the season opener, Gresham is the team's only pass-catching tight end. Gresham has 50 grabs for 378 yards and three touchdowns.


DeAngelo Williams could play Sunday wearing a cast
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:38 pm ET) Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams is getting fitted for a cast he'd wear if he returns to action Sunday against the Browns, reports ESPN.com. Williams fractured his right hand in the Week 13 loss at Minnesota.

Williams was limited in Thursday's practice. He hasn't caught passes, and the team is concerned about how the injury will affect his blocking, the report said.

But if Williams returns, he'll cut into the sizable workload Jonathan Stewart has received the past two weeks when he averaged 21.5 touches.


Jaguars announce QB Blake Bortles will start Thursday night
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:21 pm ET) Jaguars rookie quarterback Blake Bortles, who was questionable with a mid-foot sprain, will start Thursday night's game against the Titans, the team announced. It will be Bortles' first primetime appearance.

Bortles made a quick recovery from the injury, but how effective he'll be remains to be seen. He's thrown 10 touchdowns against 17 interceptions. Tennessee will start quarterback Charlie Whitehurst following injuries to Zach Mettenberger and Jake Locker.

Jacksonville is favored by 3.5 points -- the first time it has been favored in 43 games.


 
 
 
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